Wallkill River Watershed

A tributary of the Hudson River, the Wallkill River flows through two states, from its source in Lake Mohawk in Sparta Township, New Jersey. It then flows 27 miles through NJ and enters New York. In Orange County, NY the river drains 382 square miles, nearly half of the county, as it flows for 40 miles before reaching Ulster County. Twenty-two towns, villages and cities in Orange County drain wholly or partially to the Wallkill. In Ulster County, the river flows 26 miles before merging with Rondout Creek near Kingston, then flows out to the Hudson River. The total watershed is about 785 square miles in size. In New York State, the Wallkill River is fed by 69 tributaries. Conservation activities have been underway in the Wallkill River Watershed for decades. While water quality managers felt that problem sources were fairly well understood and significant resources were already being targeted to nonpoint source control programs, it was recognized that preparation of a comprehensive management plan for the Wallkill Watershed held the potential to direct existing resources more efficiently and increase the likelihood of securing additional resources. A Watershed Plan for the Wallkill River was then created in 2007 to further understand the Watershed to better restore, protect and enhance it.

In 2018, the OCWA obtained a grant through the Hudson River Valley Greenway Conservancy for the Hudson River Valley Trail Program to develop a public recreational water trail along the Wallkill River from Warwick in Orange County to New Paltz in Ulster County. The water trail will intersect the Towns of Montgomery, Hamptonburgh, Wallkill, Goshen, Wawayanda, Warwick, Shawangunk, Gardiner, and New Paltz, and the Villages of Walden, Montgomery, and New Paltz.

Grant funds will be used specifically to identify, plan, coordinate, map, and promote existing and new access points to the Wallkill River through trail signage, accessibility improvements, printed materials, a responsive mobile website, social media, press releases, and public paddling events. The Wallkill River Water Trail will provide recreational water-based opportunities for residents and visitors of Orange and Ulster counties, while improving access to and from the Wallkill River for canoers and kayakers who can also stop at parks, villages, and historic sites where the River passes through. The trail will directly intersect with the Greenway Trail System via the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and the Hudson River Rail Trail, which are both part of the Empire State Trail. There will also be connections to Orange County’s Heritage Trail and the Long Path which connects to the Appalachian Trail. The Wallkill River Water Trail will preserve and increase access to the Hudson Valley’s recreational, scenic, natural, cultural, historic, and agricultural resources while providing economic growth for the town centers and businesses along the Wallkill River.


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